Author: Dan Hoelscher

Dan Hoelscher founded Seniormark in 2007 in an effort to help individuals make a successful transition into retirement. Dan is a Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner and holds Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)© and Certified Kingdom Advisor™ certifications. Since founding Seniormark, Dan has helped thousands of retirees throughout Ohio.

5 Christmas Traditions You Can Start With Your Grandkids

5 Christmas Traditions You Can Start With Your Grandkids

It’s that time of year again. Sleigh bells are ringing. The neighbors are putting up an epic lights display or (for the less ambitious) a wreath and floodlight. And in elementary schools everywhere, little kids are counting down the days until Christmas break.

 

If they don’t spend all of their free time romping in the snow, this means more visits from the grandkids and more opportunities to start traditions and make priceless holiday memories.

 

From all of us at Seniormark, here are a few ideas to liven up those visits with spirited traditions to help others and have fun!

Bake Some Christmas Cookies—And Put the Grandkids on Decoration Duty

Blast a Christmas music playlist (perhaps one that the grandkids help create) and spend a wintry day inside the warm house baking. Then, when the cookies are all good and cooled off, ice them, and then break out the holiday sprinkles of all shapes, sizes, and colors for a decorating party. With the extra help, you can make enough for them to take home for their parents, themselves, and Santa.

 

My mom does this every year with the grandkids, and they love it. And, considering the fact that her famous sugar cookies rarely make it to New Years, I think it is safe to say the adults like it as well.

 

Go Out and Look at Christmas Lights—and Make a Scavenger Hunt Out of it!

Make some hot cocoa, hop in the car, and enjoy the light show one evening with your grandkids. The lights are beautiful to see on almost every house, but there are always those choice few houses that really make it spectacular (A.K.A. the try hards J).

 

You can even make it into a scavenger hunt with a checklist like this one. The first one to find a blow up peanuts character wins!

 

Put Together an Operation Christmas Child Shoebox

This is a great way to get your grandkids thinking about others this holiday season. Instead of always thinking about what their own gifts will be, it gives them an opportunity to think about what it might be like for other children who are not quite as fortunate as them.

 

With this organization, each of your grandkids can fill a shoebox for a child that is their same age. So take a few hours and head up to Walmart to do this with them. It will mean a lot to them, and it will bless a child in need. What a wonderful tradition!

 

Make a Special Ornament With Them

Every kid likes crafts, and ornaments that have memories behind them are much better than generic ones, so why not spend a few hours with your grandkids and make it happen. This buzzfeed article has a lot of great ideas for different ornaments you can make from clothespin reindeer to bottle cap snowmen.

 

You’ve Heard of Elf on the Shelf, But How About Kindness Elves?

The elf that gets into mischief has become very popular in recent years, but these elves suggest random acts of kindness as they move around the house during the night. Then, after the child completes his act of kindness, the next day the elves give the child a postcard to put in their “Little Book of Big Kindnesses.” This will work best if your grandkid lives close and comes over often during the Christmas season!

 

Just poking around the Internet, there are tons of other ideas out there. This post from theimaginationtree.com is my favorite collection of ideas. But whether you take one of our ideas, take up one from theimaginationtree.com, or invent your own, be sure to savor every moment of Christmas joy with your grandkids.

 

All of us at Seniormark wish you a Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!

 

Confused about Medicare and your options? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for expert help at no cost to you!

Learn the 4 Parts of Medicare in Under 4 Minutes

Learn the 4 Parts of Medicare in Under 4 Minutes

Understanding your healthcare options as you approach 65 is necessary, but let’s face it: Medicare is confusing. You’ve got enough sales mail from local agents to keep a campfire going indefinitely, but none of it seems to make anything any clearer. You’ve likely tried to do some research only to find that Medicare has more letters than your high school algebra class.

 

That is why I am going to explain four of those letters today: Medicare Parts A, B, C, and D.  My goal is that you get to the end with some of the Medicare fog lifted.

 

Part A (Inpatient Care)

Part A is hospital insurance. In other words, it is coverage for care received while officially admitted to a hospital. Beyond that simple definition, Part A also covers skilled nursing facility care, hospice, and home health care. Luckily, Part A is free as long as you’ve paid into Social Security for at least 10 years. Except for extremely specific circumstances, everyone should sign up for Part A when they turn 65.

 

Part B (Outpatient Care, A.K.A Medical Insurance)

Part B is exactly the opposite, covering care received while checked out of a hospital. This includes diagnostic tests, x-rays, outpatient surgeries, and lab tests. It also covers a host of preventive services in full to help you maintain good health as well as catch any major health problems while they are easier to treat and manage. Part B costs $144.60 a month in 2020. Most people should sign up when they turn 65, but if you plan on continuing working, it might be cost-effective to delay Part B.

 

Part C (Medicare Advantage)

This is where things get a little messy. Although Part C is a Medicare associated program, it actually replaces Medicare as the primary payer of your claims. As opposed to being offered by Medicare, it is offered by private insurance companies who have contracted with Medicare. Medicare Advantage Plans cover everything that Parts A and B cover; in fact, they usually throw in extra benefits such as an out-of-pocket spending limit and prescription drug coverage. However, you can’t purchase a Medicare Supplement with an Advantage Plan, which is often used to fill in the more costly coverage gaps Medicare leaves wide open. You must be enrolled in Parts A and B before you can enroll in Part C.

 

Part D (Prescription Drug Plan)

If you choose to get an Advantage Plan, prescription drug coverage is likely included. But for everyone else, you must purchase prescription drug coverage under Part D of Medicare. The cost of Part D is difficult to estimate because it varies based on the company you choose and the medications you take. But—to give you an idea—the average price is around $32.74 per month in 2020.

Well, there you have it! Check the timer. Has it been less than four minutes? And—more importantly—check your understanding. Do you feel a little less foggy about the four parts of Medicare?

 

Still Have Questions?

If you answered yes to both questions, we did our job. And if you still have questions (as I’m sure you do), sign up for our free Medicare workshop! Our workshops are not a long-winded sales pitch. Instead, we seek to educate you about your options so you can make the best choices and avoid costly mistakes and penalties.  To sign up, call our office at 937-492-8800 or sign up online here:  workshop signup.

Know Your Rights! (Your Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue Rights)

Know Your Rights! (Your Medicare Supplement Guaranteed Issue Rights)

Everyone knows that they have the right to remain silent and the right to an attorney, but few retirees know their rights to a Medicare Supplement policy. For this reason, many people believe that if they missed their Open Enrollment Period and have health problems, they will be unable to get insurance.

 

This is not so. Thanks to guarantee issue periods, retirees like you have rights. During guaranteed issue periods, insurance companies are obligated to offer you a policy at the normal rate and cover your pre-existing conditions. All of this with no pesky medical questioning whatsoever!

 

The following circumstances spur a guaranteed issue period. In other words, you have the right to a Medicare Supplement policy if:

  • Your Medicare Advantage Plan is going out of service or you are moving out of the service area.
  • Your employer health insurance is ending.
  • You’ve been enrolled in an Advantage Plan for less than one year and want to switch back to a Medicare Supplement plan.
  • You lose your coverage without fault (i.e. your insurance company goes bankrupt).
  • Your insurance company misled you or doesn’t follow the rules.

(For a more comprehensive chart of potential situations, click here to visit Medicare.gov).

 

From the day any one of these events happen to you, you have 63 days of guaranteed issue to get into a new Medicare Supplement Plan.

 

Do not take this newfound information lightly, and keep any proofs of the previously mentioned events at your disposal such as:

  • Claim denials
  • Letters from employers
  • Official notifications

 

Insurance companies will ask for these items to prove your right to a policy. Then they will have no choice but to insure you. This is why it is so important to educate yourself on your rights. It allows you to take advantage of what has been made available to you.

 

If you want to find out more about guaranteed issue rights or need help shopping a Medicare Supplement Plan for your needs, Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation from licensed experts.

You Can Save Hundreds on Your Supplement Without Changing Your Benefits!

You Can Save Hundreds on Your Supplement Without Changing Your Benefits!

And when I say, “without changing your benefit,” I really mean it. This isn’t about covering decreased benefits or numerous hassles under a cloak of a lower premium. You can get on an identical plan to the one you have now and still save hundreds.

 

How is this possible? Allow me to explain.

 

Standardization: Easier Comparison= Easier Savings

Before standardization, shopping Medicare Supplements was a lot more difficult. It was hard to see which one of any two plans was the better value because insurance companies provided diverse benefits at diverse premiums.

 

Then, in 1992, Medicare standardized 11 lettered plans (A-N). Now, although there are diverse benefits from plan to plan (each lettered plan is unique), the plans remain the same from company to company. In other words, a Plan F is a Plan F no matter who you shop with, no matter which company you purchase from. Similar to the apples and oranges saying, you are comparing all the fruits to their respective fruits.

 

But here’s where you can save money: even though the plans are standardized from company to company, the premiums are not. A Plan F at one company, although identical in coverage, can be over a hundred dollars more at another. To demonstrate this, I compared all the available plans for each of the three most popular Medicare Supplement plans at our agency. The monthly difference between the most expensive company plan and the least expensive is

  • $196.43 for a Plan F
  • $212.71 for a Plan G
  • $141.65 for a Plan N

Note: These numbers are based off a woman living in Sidney, OH who does not use tobacco.

 

Imagine if you could shop like this for other items. It would be like walking onto a car dealership’s lot and, instead of being confronted with an onslaught of varying features; you just had a line up of identical cars, some of them thousands more than others. No discrepancies in gas mileage. No debating the value of seat warmers versus a little extra trunk space. Just easy comparison, making it easy to get the best deal.

 

What If I’ve Never Heard of Them? What About the Company Ratings?

This is a common fear when it comes to shopping Medicare Supplements. The Plan may be the same, but the company is different. How do you know when the company you plan to work with is qualified, trustworthy, and stable?

 

Firstly, I would say not to let the fact that you don’t recognize a company deter you. There are many qualified, trustworthy, and stable companies that are not as well known. It’s good to ask a professional or do a little research yourself, but this should not be a reason to write a company off. In our practice, we screen the companies we represent before we recommend their plans to our clients. This way we know for certain all of our clients will have a good experience in claims processing and general customer service.

 

On the other hand, when it comes to the company ratings, you should pay a little more attention. This evaluation is based on the company’s financial stability, so it is easy to see the importance. You want your insurance company to have the money to pay your claims when they are needed. However, I wouldn’t let this carry too much weight. Obviously going with a D or F rated company isn’t a good idea, but I’ve found that you can count on any company above a B+ rating. They are well established enough to deliver the promised benefits.

 

Concluding Thoughts

Overall, I’ve found that switching plans about every 4-5 years is beneficial. On a regular basis at Seniormark, we see people save $30-50 per month just by switching.  If you take the few minutes it takes to compare Supplement rates, you may be surprise by how much you can save!

 

Interested in Finding Out How Much You Can Save?

Use our Quoting Tool to compare Medicare Supplement rates in your area. It’s absolutely free, and we don’t ask for any personal information, so you can be sure you won’t get any annoying junk emails. If you have any questions, give us a call at 937-492-8800. We love to hear from you!

 

Will Poor Health Prevent Me From Switching to a New Medicare Supplement?

Will Poor Health Prevent Me From Switching to a New Medicare Supplement?

There are lots of reasons you might be dissatisfied with your current health insurance plan. Perhaps you’ve had a Medicare Supplement for a few years and the premiums have been creeping up into the stratosphere. Or—if you are in an Advantage Plan—maybe you are sick and tired of an ever-changing benefits package or pesky out-of-pocket expenses like copays or coinsurance.

 

Regardless of the reason, you realize it’s time to switch.

 

If you’re in good health, it’s simple. You make like a Nike commercial and just do it.

 

But what if you battle blood pressure or cholesterol? What if you have diabetes? What if you have a personal history of cancer or heart trouble on your records? Or even an open heart surgery?

 

Well, in this case, I’d like to be the bearer of good news. It may not be as easy for you, but there’s still a really good chance you can switch.

 

As a quick side note, if you are in a Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period or a Guaranteed Issue Period, you are completely in the clear. No insurance company can deny you coverage.

 

But if you aren’t in one of those periods and you just want a better premium or benefits package, you can also switch.

 

Why? You’ll be happy to know…

 

Medicare Supplement Underwriting is Not as Selective as You Might Think.

Prior to Obamacare, health insurance for people under the age of 65 was much stricter. People with more serious health issues were often immediately turned away. The approach to questioning might be something like this:

  • Have you had cancer in the last 10 years?
  • Do you have a history of heart problems?
  • Do you have diabetes and take insulin?

 

But the Medicare Supplement underwriting process is significantly less harsh. Since Medicare is footing part of the bill for them, they aren’t taking on near as much risk. And because they aren’t taking on as much risk, they can be a bit more lax. A Supplement company’s approach to those same questions might look something like this:

  • Have you had cancer in the last 10 years? Well, as long as it’s not in the past two, we can make this work.
  • Do you have a history of heart problems? Well, have you been stable over the past two years?
  • Do you have diabetes and take insulin? Let’s take a closer look.

 

I’m not saying there aren’t some companies who will still deny you.  You’re always going to have that. But I would like to widen your perspective a little bit. Just because Anthem denies you coverage doesn’t mean another one will.

 

There Are Many, Many Medicare Supplement Companies Out There!

In fact, according to page 27 of the Ohio Department of Insurance’s Medicare Supplement guide, there are 43+ Medicare Supplement companies just in Ohio. You have to think, these companies have diverse ways of evaluating the health of their potential policyholders. Chances are you will find one that will take a chance on you!

 

At our practices in Sidney and Vandalia, Ohio, we’ve had a lot of luck with the smaller companies who are trying to be more competitive. They are often more likely to take a look at your individual situation and seek clarification rather than put your application through the shredder at the first mention of a chronic disease. Then, after a close analysis of your situation, they make their final decision.

 

So don’t stay in a plan you hate.

So if you premium is too high, if the copays are frustrating, or if you just plain don’t like it, shop around! Just don’t cancel your current policy until you have another one in place.

 

If you want to shop supplement rates in your area without inputting any personal information, you can compare Medicare Supplement rates here.

 

Do You Want A Licensed Medicare Expert to Help You Shop A Supplement?

Seniormark is always here to help. We represent dozens of diverse, competitive companies in the area. Call us at 937-492-8800 and we will help you shop a plan for your unique needs and budget!

 

Is a Part D Drug Plan Really Worth it?

Is a Part D Drug Plan Really Worth it?

I’m healthy. I’m fit. I still run 5Ks and mulch my own flowerbeds and trim my own bushes. It’s like I’m Tom Cruise or something. Or Brad Pitt. Or a 1989 bottle of Chardonnay. Just getting better with age.

 

At this point during your internal monologue, you might be wondering if a drug plan is really worth it. If you’re really at the top of your game, taking little to no medication, why would you want a $20-30 monthly premium weighing you down? Well, to cut right to the chase…

I’ve got three top-notch reasons for you:

Medicare Will Penalize You For Not Having a Drug Plan

Yup. You read that right. If you join Part D too late, it could cost you big time. In fact, for every month you are late (after your initial enrollment period), your premium will go up by 1% of the national average drug plan cost in the U.S, a penalty which continues for the rest of  your life. Of course, if  you never go on a drug plan, the late enrollment penalty doesn’t apply. But can you guarantee that? What happens if your doctor puts you on a medication that is  out-of-this world-expensive? How will you pay for it?

Which brings me to my next reason…

The Cost of Medication is Outrageous

Right now, you might be able to get your drugs at Walmart Pharmacy for less than $4 a month. But—as I just said—life offers no guarantee for this to continue.

We’ve seen people come into our office who are on prescription drugs which cost from 40k a year all the way up to $150,000 a year. Now these people were on the right drug plan for their needs (sigh of relief), but what if they weren’t? Could they have just signed up right then and there?

Actually no, because…

You Have To Sign Up During Specific Enrollment Periods

If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period (the 7 month window starting 3 months before your 65th birthday month), you have to wait until the Annual Enrollment Period to sign up. The Annual Enrollment Period goes from October 15- December 7. It is the only time you can enroll. And the enrollment doesn’t go into effect until January 1st.

So what if you get put on this previously mentioned out-of-this-world expensive drug mid-year? And you realize you need drug coverage? It isn’t convenient, but the truth is you may have to rack up penalties and pay the high medication costs until January 1st. Talk about being weighed down!

So…

As you review your most recent purchases, you can probably question the worth of a lot of things you bought. That life insurance policy for your gerbil? Probably not your best decision. The 3 year subscription to Fruit of the Month Magazine? I would’ve passed. A blanket with sleeves? Please.

And if you never get sick, you can throw prescription drug plans in with the lot. But herein lies the problem: no matter how strong or fit or Brad Pitt-esque you might be, health is often unpredictable.

Need more information on how to choose a drug plan? Check out this post to get you started!

Still have questions?  Give our office a call and we will do what we can to help you out!  937-492-8800

How to Afford Your Meds in the Donut Hole—7 Strategic Ways

How to Afford Your Meds in the Donut Hole—7 Strategic Ways

Although the donut hole is closing and will be completely gone in 2020, many—like you—are still caught within its clutches. And the fact that it is disappearing doesn’t help you right now. But there are a few things you can do to get yourself out of this expensive mess. Just like you planned for retirement, you can use that same strategic, out-of-box thinking to get yourself within your budget for drug costs. Here are 7 ways.

 

Switch to Generics

Bargain shoppers will like this one. How many times have you bought the generic brand of a common product and found out that it tasted nearly identical? The same goes for prescription drugs. More often than not, there is a generic equivalent that has the exact same active ingredient as the brand name drug. In this case, making the switch will not affect the medication efficacy, but could lower your copays significantly.

 

Of course, you need to consult your doctor before this. Not all grocery generics are as good as name brand (ever try generic Oreos?), and it is the same for medications. Not all medications have a generic equivalent and some—you might find—don’t work as well for you, but this is very rare. In fact, according to the FDA, research shows that generics work just as well as name brand drugs.

 

Talk to Your Doctor

This one is simple, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t smart. Sometimes the smartest thing you can do is ask someone who is smarter than you! Doctors know the prescription drug industry, and they know your unique situation. Maybe you can switch to an over-the-counter equivalent? Or maybe they “know a guy”? (Wow…that sounded a lot shadier than I expected)  Anyhow…if anyone can help you lay out a plan, they can.

 

Ask for Free Samples

While you’re consulting with your doctor, ask for a freebie. A lot of times they have free samples around the office that they can give you. He probably won’t impart to you a 90-day supply of little packets, but every bit helps.

 

Split the Pill; Split the Bill

Most double strength pills are not double the cost. A lot of times they are even very similar in cost. So if you order your regular supply of pills at double the strength and split them, it could save you big time. For a lot of prescriptions, it lasts double the time, leading to a 2 for 1 deal.

 

However, you need permission from your doctor to do this. Doing it unsafely or to a pill that wasn’t created for it can be potentially dangerous.

 

For more information on how to split pills safely, visit WebMD’s article “Guide to Pill Splitting”

 

Compare Pharmacies

Prices for prescription drugs can vary depending on which pharmacy you buy them from. Some have more expensive copays, and some are just more expensive in general. Your default pharmacy may not always be the best one, so price checking is always a good idea.

 

A few of our clients tipped us off to this wonderful online resource for shopping pharmacies called goodrx.com. You just plug in the medication you want to shop, and the tool automatically compares the prices for that drug to find the pharmacies that offer the drug at the lowest cost. You can even print out coupons or access them via their mobile app, leading to even more savings.

 

Consider Mail Order

Not only is it more convenient, but it is also more cost-effective. Quite a few prescription drug plans offer a discount for switching to mail order. In fact, according to American College of Physicians President, Wayne J. Riley, you can save one-third on name-brand drugs by using mail order (from Money Magazine’s website).

 

Ask For Help

If all else fails, ask for help. Sometimes it is the most strategic thing you can do. There are assistance programs through charitable foundations and through pharmaceutical companies. Of course, they hope you find another way to pay for your medications, but at the end of the day, they won’t let you go untreated.

 

Here is a link to Medicare.gov’s  pharmaceutical assistance program index. Just search for the Medication you can’t afford, and it will tell you the eligibility requirements for that drug manufacturer’s assistance program.

 

It’s no secret that many people are counting down the days until the coverage gap is finally gone forever. I know I can’t wait for it to be gone. It is such a hassle for both my clients and I. But until then, I recommend putting some or all of these items to the test. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Looking to switch your Drug Plan? Seniormark can help. Call us at 937-492-8800 to sign up for a free consultation.

Attention Retirees: Stay on Top of Your Health Insurance With This Helpful Online Tool

Attention Retirees: Stay on Top of Your Health Insurance With This Helpful Online Tool

Life is complicated and hard to manage. And what younger people don’t realize is that it doesn’t just all stop once you retire. As long as you’ve got goals and dreams, you’ve got schedules and things to keep track of—especially when it comes to Medicare.

 

This is why the Medicare program set up a site to help you say on top of all things health insurance. It’s called mymedicare.gov. We recommend it to our clients, and now we are recommending it to you.

 

Among other things, this site has some wonderful, time saving features including:

 

A Claim Library

Right on the home page, the site shows your most recent claims all the way back to claims made 36 months ago. In a three-column chart, the site displays

  • What you were charged
  • What Medicare approved and paid for
  • What you might be billed (not considering your Medicare Supplement)

 

This is particularly helpful when budgeting for health care costs. If you know you’ve got a health care bill on the way, you can set aside some extra cash to pay for it. Otherwise, you might be caught unaware.

 

It is also helpful for detecting Medicare Fraud. If you start noticing claims in your claim library for services you never received, it is time to report fraud. You will be doing yourself and your country a favor by turning the bad guys in.

 

Your Current Plan Information

The site also shows you relevant information about your current health care plan including your prescription drug plan and any supplemental insurance.

 

This is really useful around the Annual Enrollment Period. Knowing the plans you have in place is the first step in deciding if you want to switch and what you want to switch to.  (Click here to read our thoughts about shopping around.)

 

Your Deductible Status

Under the “claims” tab, you can click on your deductible status link and find out how close you are to meeting your deductible. After you meet your deductible, plan benefits will begin. This is why your deductible status is important. You’ll have an idea what a service is going to cost before you receive it.

 

Your Preventative Care Scheduling

Medicare alone covers a lot of preventative services such as screenings and tests and certain types of counseling. They cover them in full, so you don’t have to pay a dime! Some are offered ever 2 years, some every 4, and some only every 6 or more years. It is difficult to know which ones you are eligible for on which years.

 

The preventative services page under the “my health” tab shows exactly what you are eligible for at any moment. This makes it extra easy to take advantage of the preventative services that are available to you. You’ve paid into Social Security for all those years for the benefits, so you might as well use them!

 

And overall, I think the best part of the site is that it is all in one place. Most—if not all— of the information you need to know about your health care is organized and at your fingertips. For the retiree like you who still has a lot going on, it’s a wise choice.

 

Have any concerns about your current plan? Looking to switch? Call Seniormark at 937-492-8800 to set up a free consultation.

 

What Is My Full Retirement Age? (And Why Does It Matter to My Social Security Check)

What Is My Full Retirement Age?

(And Why Does It Matter to My Social Security Check?)

 

Laws, guidelines, tax codes, regulation, health care—pretty much everything involved with the government—is constantly evolving. And the full retirement age is no different.

 

Life expectancy has been rising. So that means that retirees are drawing on their Social Security for much longer than they used to. Couple this with shockingly high spending for other programs, and you’ve got yourself a little budget problem on your hands. Social Security has to remain solvent somehow!

 

This is why the full retirement age is creeping up. Ever since Ronald Reagan signed the 1983 Social Security Act amendments, the government has been inching its way to a full retirement age of 67, like peeling off a Band-Aid nice and slow.

 

But What’s My Full Retirement Age?

Your full retirement age depends on when you were born. The younger you are, the closer your full retirement age will be to 67. But if you’re retiring soon, your full retirement age is likely 66. Check out this chart from SSA.gov to find out for sure:

 

Why Does it Matter to My Social Security Check?

Your full retirement age is when you qualify for full Social Security benefits (not to be confused with your Medicare eligibility)[LINK TO WARNING: CONFUSING MEDICARE AND SOCIAL SECURITY ELIGIBILITY]. You can apply as early as age 62, but you will receive reduced benefits, only 75% of what you would’ve received had you waited until your full retirement age.

 

But there’s another side to this coin. You can also delay your benefits, leading to bigger benefits. For every year you delay beyond your full retirement age, you get an extra 8% tacked onto your Social Security check every month.

 

These options leave a lot up to you, and I wouldn’t take them lightly. Deciding when to start your Social Security takes a lot more than just understanding your full retirement age; it calls for a carefully planned strategy, another step along the way to a successful retirement.

 

Looking for some strategies to help you get the most out of Social Security? Click here.

3 Reasons to Start Medicare Planning NOW!

3 Reasons to Start Medicare Planning NOW!

Every last one of us is pretty much the same in this respect: we don’t take now for an answer. When the task is daunting, overwhelming, or complex, we always manage to escape doing it now by putting it off for tomorrow. We’re like a gaggle of Houdinis. Just when you think time constraints have us trapped, we magically free ourselves into an enchanted tomorrow land of channel flipping, Internet surfing, and power naps.

 

But some things are just too important to put off. Even for one more day, one more catnap, one more rerun of I Love Lucy. Medicare planning is one of these things. Not convinced? Here are three reasons why you should start the Medicare planning process now:

 

Reason #1 Mistakes Happen

Glitches. Mistakes. Goofs. If there is a way something can go wrong, Lord knows it probably will. Just like a customer service call can turn into several hours of God-awful hold music, a small slip-up in the Medicare process can turn a five minute solution into a month long ordeal.

 

This is because you are just one of the 10,000 people turning 65 everyday. Medicare has a lot to handle; little things can slip through the cracks. Even if you are fortunate enough to not make any mistakes, you still have to plan in advance for theirs.

 

Reason #2 You’ve Got a Ton of Decisions to Make

Do you need a med sup? Or should you go the Medicare Advantage route? Should you sign up now? Or wait until you are done working? When are the deadlines? What are the penalties? What is a donut hole and how do I navigate it?

 

Take these questions along with deciding between 24 drug plans, 11 supplement plans and a legion of Medicare Advantage options, and you’ve got yourself a to-do list you can’t leave until the last minute.

 

Reason #3 Your Hairdresser Is Not a Retirement Advisor

Getting advice from your family or friends over coffee at church or in-between hands of euchre won’t cut it.  And no, your all-knowing hairdresser won’t do either.   Although your loved ones and acquaintances may have your best interests at heart, they simply do not know the ins and outs of Medicare. What was right for them may not be right for you. And what they overheard at the grocery store is (gasp) probably not watertight advice.

 

This is why seeing an expert is a great (dare I say the only) way to make sure you are on the right track, ensuring you a smooth, penalty-free transition to retirement. But you may find it difficult to schedule an appointment if you wait last minute. We will still help you out, of course, but it will save you a lot of stress to plan an appointment weeks or months ahead.

 

So—when should you start the Medicare Planning process? If you are within 6 months of turning 65, the answer is…you guessed it…Now!

 

Well……

Maybe not now, right?

 

Not sure what to do next? Give us a call at 937-492-8800 for a free consultation!